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Charles Barkley argues he was fat, but Zion Williamson ‘doesn’t look fat at all’

Charles Barkley, Zion Williamson

The criticism and hearsay regarding Zion Williamson and his adaptation to the NBA game once again swirled around the New Orleans Pelicans after Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski claimed he was not ready to take on Summer League before the NBA team ruled him out for the rest of the event after 10 minutes of playing time in his debut.

TNT’s Charles Barkley doesn’t think Williamson is fat, but noted he will have to adhere to a regimen that will give him the best chance to enjoy longevity in the league after coming in at 6-foot-7 and 285 pounds:

“I was fat,” said Barkley. “They’re gonna have to do some really interesting tests on Zion’s body, because he doesn’t look fat at all. I was fat so I needed to lose weight. I don’t know what Zion’s perfect body weight will be. I thought 300 was my perfect playing weight in college. I had to lose 50 pounds to become a Hall of Famer. I think he’s got a great system in New Orleans. I love David Griffin and Alvin Gentry, but they’re going to have to come up with a comprehensive plan to see what the perfect playing weight is.

“I hear he weighs 280 and he can’t play at 280 in the NBA. He can’t play at that weight, it’s too much stress on his knees. He’s so big and he’s so strong, but everybody in the NBA is big and strong.”

Barkley was 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds coming out of Auburn as the fifth overall pick of the 1984 NBA Draft, but he eventually had to shed the weight to play at a high level. The Hall of Famer noted he was lucky to be under the guidance of a superstar like Moses Malone to take him under his wing, teach him discipline and the commitment to being a pro.

Much like Charles Barkley, Zion Williamson will need organizational support and a veteran leader to keep him accountable to muster a leaner, meaner version of himself to carry on through the course of his career.